Now that the holidays are upon us, we think it's a good opportunity to call attention to the fact that this is the time of year when we experience the most calls about loose dogs. With a little planning and thinking ahead, you can enjoy that turkey and spend time with your family and not have to take time out of your holidays to look for a lost dog. Make sure all doors are closed properly when guests come to your home. Also, it's important to remind guests to be aware of the fact that a greyhound lives in the house. It seems as though every holiday we get calls about dogs escaping out of doors when they have accidentally been left open or they get through open doors when guests arrive and take off their coats at the door. It only takes a small opening in a door for a greyhound to get through because of their thin bodies.
Start to plan now for what you will do to keep your holidays happy and your hound safe. When we had our four greyhounds years ago, we worked with them all and trained them to "wait" at the door until we said "let's go." Everyone understood the commands and listened well. At the time we didn't have a fenced in yard so we couldn't afford to have our dogs get loose where we live in a rural area and on the side of a mountian. But now that we have so many dogs here, that kind of training is hard to do and many of the dogs are not here long enough to train. We do practice the "wait" command at the door before it's opened so we cut down on the chaos involved with a lot of dogs running out the door at the same time. We also back that up with the word "easy". No one goes outside until everyone is settled down and there is no bouncing around or whining.
Start now to think of what you can do to prevent your hound from accidentally getting out of a door. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Use a baby gate at the door and keep it propped up until you have your hound(s) secure. Then you can take the gate down, let guests in and then put the gate back in place. This will also work if you have a porch or deck that guests access to get to your front door. Place a gate across the porch/deck opening so that if your hound does get out of the door, he/she can only go so far.
2. Keep a leash next to the door and when guests arrive, leash your hound. This gets hard to do if you have lots of guests and lots of hounds!
3. Put an extra latch on your door so that you will have to go through more work to get a door open. This is a good reminder that you have to do something with your hound!
4. Make a sign for your door that warns guests that you have a greyhound inside the house and to be very careful when opening the door. Keep the door locked so that you have to answer it and guests can't walk in on their own.
4. To be perfectly safe, crate or baby gate your hound in another room while guests are arriving. Some people will even kennel their dog during large family gatherings; although not possible for some, it does guarantee that the greyhound will be safe.
5. Review the Lost Dog link we have posted on the Greytlinks page of our web site. You can print one Lost Dog flyer with your hound's photo and your phone number. Keep it handy and hope you will never have to use it. Keep all important phone numbers handy as well in case your hound escapes. It will get you help that much faster having the important information out in case you need it.
We hope that none of our hounds get out the door this holiday period; we hope that everyone will have a safe and happy holiday season and not have to feel the panic of searching for a beloved hound that escaped out of a door.